COVID-19 surge in states pushes Centre to emphasize on targeted vaccinations

As many as 16,488 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours

Looking at the increasing number of Coronavirus cases, the Central government is now focusing on an aggressive vaccination strategy and has given seven key pointers to eight states as well as the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a report by The Indian Express, the states have been directed to have an aggressive vaccination drive especially in districts where the number of COVID-19 cases are on a rise along with effective surveillance when it comes to tracking super-spreader events. The guidelines came out during a high-level meeting that was chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and the states’ chief secretaries attending it.

The states to whom these guidelines are issued include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir. According to the guidelines, officials have to monitor mutant strains and look for clusters of cases having signs of early hotspot development. Apart from this, the states are expected to undertake priority vaccination and ramp up the RT- PCR testing in districts with high rapid antigen testing. The states also have to focus on clinical management and implementation of strict surveillance and containment in districts where testing rate is low. Furthermore, states can levy fines/ challans to those who are found violating COVID-19 prevention norms.

The report noted that Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul who were there in the meeting gave a detailed presentation about some concerning testing trends as the number of Coronavirus cases increased. “(The) Cabinet Secretary reiterated that states need to maintain a continued rigorous vigil in terms of containing the spread and not squander away the gains of the collective hard work of the last year.” the report quoted health ministry as saying,

Meanwhile, as many as 16,488 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours with six states and UTs- Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat collectively recorded 85.7 per cent of cases. It is to note that Maharashtra has been recording the sharpest rise in active cases, surpassing Kerala now. The state had 34,449 active cases on February 14 and the number has increased to 68,810 on Saturday. Kerala, on the other hand is now showing decline in the number of active cases as they went down to 51,679 cases on February 27 from 63,847 cases recorded on February 14.

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